Christopher Columbus

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  1. Voyages
    1. The First Voyage
    2. Letter to the King after first voyage
    3. The Second Voyage
    4. The Third Voyage
    5. The Fourth Voyage

The_Return_of_Christopher_Columbus

The return of Christopher Columbus; his audience before Ferdinand and  Isabella.

In 1453, the Islamic Ottoman Turks  successfully captured Christian Constantinople (present-day Istanbul)—formerly western Europe’s main source for spices, silks, paper, porcelain, glass, and other luxury goods produced in India, China, Japan, and the spice islands (present-day Indonesia). Collectively these areas were known as the east Indies. Also, the silk road  trade route  was shut down by the Ottoman Turks.

The Portugal’s  alternate  route, by sea, was now in demand.  Christopher Columbus spent the better part of his adult life embracing a different navigational solution other than Portugal’s already established maritime route. The core  of his idea was  sailing west across the Atlantic Ocean to the east Indies would be shorter, and  quicker. Moreover, knowing modern geography  makes his idea  a guaranteed failure.  In hindsight if his idea was correct, a world of opportunity would open up not only for  him but other fortune hunters.   Of course,  this did not happen.

By the late 13th century, the Spanish Christian kingdoms of Castile and Aragon had reconquer most of the Islamic Berber/Moors controlled territory. In 1479, the two kingdoms were united as a result of the marriage of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella of Castile. The last Islamic kingdom, Granada, was lost in  1492. For Christian Spain, this  conquest was the most important event in their history.  After nearly eight centuries of fighting, the Christian Iberians finally defeated the African Islamic Berbers/Moors.  On the second of January, 1492, King Ferdinand together with Queen Isabella rode into Granada victoriously. Columbus was present at that joyful event.

Believing a route sailing west across the Atlantic would be quicker and safer, Columbus devised a plan to sail west to reach the East. He estimated the earth to be a sphere approximately 63% its actual size and the distance between the Canary Islands and Japan to be about 2,300 miles. Many contemporary nautical experts disagreed, adhering to the second century BC estimate of the earth’s circumference at 25,000 miles. This made the distance between the Canary Islands and Japan about 12,200 statute miles. While experts disagreed with Columbus on matters of distance, they concurred that a westward voyage from Europe would be an uninterrupted water route.

Columbus then went to the Spanish monarchy of Isabella of Castille and Ferdinand of Aragon, in 1486 but was rejected as the focus of Isabella and Ferdinand was on the Granada war with the Muslims. . He continued to lobby the royal court and soon after the Spanish army captured the last Muslim stronghold in Granada in January of 1492. Shortly after, the monarchs agreed to finance his expedition.

In August of 1492, Columbus left Spain in the Santa Maria, with the Pinta and the Niña along side. After 36 days of sailing, Columbus and several crewmen set foot on an island in the present day Bahamas, claiming it for Spain. There he encountered a timid but friendly group of natives who were open to trade with the sailors exchanging glass beads, cotton balls, parrots and spears. The Europeans also noticed bits of gold the natives wore for adornment.



References

  1. https://subratachak.wordpress.com/2016/03/25/reasons-for-conflict-between-the-ottoman-and-the-habsburg/
  2. http://www.robinsonlibrary.com/america/discovery/columbus.htm
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